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Adam Page
The Jac

Formed in late 2010, The Jac is an 8-piece ensemble featuring some of New Zealand's finest jazz, classical and metal musicians. Borrowing liberally from these and other genres, they perform cinematic, suite-like original compositions. Intelligent and intricate, yet deeply grooving, this band is a must-see.

Describing themselves as a ‘small big band’, The Jac perform with an infectious attitude and intensity. “That’s one of the cool things about the group,” says Callum Allardice. “We sit halfway between a combo and a big band, which allows us to draw from both.”

The band tackle styles and grooves rarely associated with large ensembles. Improvisation is integral, written into the work rather than separated from it, and their sound encompasses a wide palette of colours and textures. It’s uncommon for jazz ensembles to play music as highly arranged as this, but the eight-piece format allows for plenty of intimacy and interaction.

“There’s tension and energy in our music, and an emotional element that seems to resonate with people,” says Jake Baxendale. “It’s technically difficult and requires lots of rehearsal, but we’re aiming for as much simplicity and directness as possible.”

The group write and perform as much as possible, striving to open up their sound and expose it to more influences. Rattle intends to go the journey with them ...

Jake Baxendale answers Graham Reid's Famous Elsewhere Jazz Questionnaire.